New lockdown measures have forced non-essential shops to close until December 2, dealing a blow to Christmas trading.

Under the month-long restrictions, non-essential retail including home and DIY, clothing and toy shops will all be closed but they are permitted to offer delivery from store or click and collect.

Footfall figures across all retail destinations are expected to drop by an average of 62% over the six weeks to Boxing Day, according to Springboard, which drastically changed its original Christmas predictions when the news of lockdown emerged on Saturday.

During the lockdown period from November 5 to December 2,  footfall across England is set to decline by 78.8% with high streets hit hardest, seeing a drop of 87.3%.

Christmas was already set to be challenging this year with 63.5% of consumers intending to spend less than in 2019.

While online was expected to boom this Christmas, the closure of bricks-and-mortar retail has ensured this will definitely be a digital Christmas.

Experts have warned that this may be a devastating blow for many retailers who were hoping to rebound this season.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Retail faces a nightmare before Christmas as the government proposes to close thousands of retail premises under this new national lockdown, denying customers access to many of their favourite shops and brands. 

“It will cause untold damage to the high street in the run-up to Christmas, cost countless jobs and permanently set back the recovery of the wider economy, with only a minimal effect on the transmission of the virus.  

“The announced closure will have a significant economic impact on the viability of thousands of shops and hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country. 

“The previous lockdown cost ‘non-essential’ shops £1.6bn a week in lost sales; now that we are entering the all-important Christmas shopping period, these losses are certain to be much bigger.”

Retail Economics chief executive Richard Lim said: “These new lockdown measures could not have come at a worse time for the retail industry. In particular, small retailers remain in survival mode and profits made during the festive period will determine whether they continue to trade into the new year. It will be a devastating blow to the industry. 

“There’s no doubt that this will be a digital Christmas. The shift towards online will be of epic proportions but there are serious doubts over whether the industry has the capacity to cope. There will be a strain on websites, warehouses and, crucially, delivery networks. 

“Put simply, the industry just isn’t set up for such a colossal switch to online and many retailers will not be able to cope which will ultimately leave consumers frustrated.

“We’ll see a huge polarisation in sales performance with retailers who have invested in their online operations significantly over the last few years benefiting from the shift.”